Volume 46 Number 12
                    Produced: Sat Dec  4 23:57:59 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Carrying weapons on Shabbos and Yom Tov
         [Emmanuel Ifrah]
Coming late to minyan
         [Tzvi Stein]
Correctness of old sifrei Torah
         [Martin Stern]
Late to shul
         [Janice Gelb]
Men displacing women in the women's section of the shule
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Not there for the funeral
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]
Old Tefillin
         [Martin Stern]
Red Strings
Weapons on Shabbat
         [Yisrael Medad]
Yahrzeit of the Rambam
         [Barry Wolfson]


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 13:11:20 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Carrying weapons on Shabbos and Yom Tov

The Israelis are not the only ones to have paskened on this issue.

Please refer to the responsum of R. Mordechai Yaakov Breisch zt"l of
Zurich who ruled that a Jewish solider who was off duty on shabbat could
carry his weapon with him as obligated by the Swiss law (Chelkat Yaakov,

Emmanuel Ifrah


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 18:40:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Coming late to minyan

I still don't understand what bothers people so much about *other*
people coming late, especially only 10 minutes!  How does it affect
*you* at all!  We're not talking about a situation where they're
preventing you from making a minyan.  All they're doing is coming in
while the minyan is already in progress.

And to be so bothered that you say "do something to alieve the situation
or don't come at all"!  I'm speechless!  You are so upset about someone
*else* coming late that they should miss tefilla b'tzibur to make you
feel better!  Come on!


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, 04 Dec 2004 19:34:59 +0000
Subject: Re: Correctness of old sifrei Torah

on 3/12/04 9:29 am, Yossi Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...> wrote:

> When the computer examination of Sifrei Torah began about 15 years ago,
> I remember hearing that of the first 100 checked, not a single one was
> kosher.
> Do the standards change with the improvement of the checking technology?

The basic reason for this is the tendency of people to read what they
expect to see which leads to certain types of error, such as
mis-spellings and repeated or missing words, not being detected by human
proofreaders, as anyone who has ever tried to proofread their own
writings will know. On the other hand some of these are often obvious to
someone who does not understand the content and so does not know what to
expect; a computer does not have this psychological trait so it also
'sees' them immediately. On the other hand, certain errors are
'invisible' to computers and easily noticed by the human eye. Therefore
both types of checking are advisable.

> If this is correct, the obvious conclusion would be that the
> Rambam and the Chazon Ish (just as examples) most likely never heard a
> "kosher" Torah reading....Hard for me to accept.

The general principle is that a Sefer Torah which has been checked has
chezkat kashrut - presumption of being correct - until an error is
found, and those who hear it read have fulfilled their obligation.

Martin Stern


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 09:10:30 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Late to shul

Carl Singer (<casinger@...>) wrote:
> From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
> >I don't think this is a fair comparison for several reasons:
> >* One is more likely to make a special effort for a particular occasion
> >than for a daily or weekly occurrence
> >* If you perceive yourself as someone else's guest at a special event,
> >you are more likely to make a special effort to come on time
> >* Non-Jews are used to religous services that last only an hour or a
> >little more so it would probably not occur to them that coming late is
> >an option!
> I disagree with Janice's analysis as follows:
> I believe the observation is correct whatever the underlying reason(s.)

I didn't say it wasn't correct. You phrased it in the form of a
question, though, not an observation.

> Guests are usually invited to lunch so their invitation might well
> indicate that this is a 9AM (or 8:30AM) 'til noon service.

I don't believe that invitations usually provide a range of times -
usually I think they state when services start and then something like
"Please join us for a kiddush luncheon after the service."

> There are many Jewish guests in attendence for whom this is also a
> special occasion and they too seem to come late.
> Most of all, I cannot fathom that coming late to shule is an option
> because services are long.

I am hugely impressed that your lifelong experience with people coming
to shul is that no one ever complains about how long services are! It is
precisely the Jews who do not attend shul regularly who are likely to
come late for a bar mitzvah: they know the service is long, the
beginning part of the service is likely incomprehensible or unfamiliar
to them (and is not usually broken up by singing), and they know that
the bar mitzvah, who is the main reason for their attendance, is not
going to begin his part at the start of services.

BTW, please realize that I am not agreeing with these reasons or
providing them as excuses, merely trying to answer your question.

-- Janice


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Sat, 04 Dec 2004 21:35:36 +0200
Subject: Re: Men displacing women in the women's section of the shule

> I think the woman did properly by asking a gentleman to intercede on
> her behalf -- but since that failed, and the men did not move, I
> believe she should have entered the women's section and continued
> davening.  The men would then have had to move in order to continue
> with their davening.

Perhaps I was unclear in my original posting - the woman was praying
outside because she would not go in to the women's section as long as
there were men there. Once I told them that a woman was outside, waiting
for them to move, they did so.

However, your statement that a woman in such a situation "should have
entered the women's section", while it may be correct "legally", just
does not work. I know of women (my own wife included) who simply will
not do such a thing (even when I urged her to).

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: <chips@...>
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 2004 15:11:57 -0800
Subject: Re:  Nittel

Keep in mind that the present style of celebrating christmas by the
christains is historically new. In Europe the real reason most seder's
were cancelled was because the christains took christmas as an excuse to
act as hooligans. It was not a pleasant holiday for anyone really.

Dickens was one of the major forces in changing the activities of
christmas from "gangs rumbling" to "church going".  -rp


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 04 Dec 2004 17:50:27 +0200
Subject: Re: Not there for the funeral

Generally it's a case for your LOR; I've observed (from a distance, not
done) all varieties.  One friend who was told to wait for the time of
burial, then I went over and did cri'ah for her, and when her mother and
siblings were getting up, thousands of miles away, I was told to go over
and "get her up."  As per our local rabbis instructions.

I know of others who were told to sit immediately upon hearing.  And
some who traveled home for Shabbat and then back to wherever sitting.
And even going by plane from one country to another to split the shiva.
Each case is different, but there's lots of flexibility.

And less than twenty-five years ago a friend's siblings took their time
telling him that their mother had passed away, and he had a symbolic
shiva of about an hour after getting the news.  I think the time limit
for full shiva is a month.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, 04 Dec 2004 19:42:23 +0000
Subject: Re: Old Tefillin

on 3/12/04 9:29 am, Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...> wrote:

> Furthermore, it's rather difficult for tefillin to "go bad"^ and the
> parshiot won't deterioate. The only tefillin that were actually pasul
> that he ever checked, he said (apart, I suppose, from those that were
> in water or in the sun too long) were those that hadn't been worn in
> years and had worms or the like in them. In other words, if the batim
> seem OK, the insides probably are too. Of course, that doesn't mean
> they shouldn't be checked now and then.

There is a problem with tefillin in which the parchment was smeared with
a coating to make it smoother so as to make writing on it easier. With
time this coating dries out and comes away, taking off letters or even
whole words and therefore making the tefillin pasul. This was quite a
common problem at one time and anyone buying tefillin should make sure
that the parchments were not so treated.

Martin Stern


From: <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 06:23:39 EST
Subject: Re: Red Strings

      During the last 10 years or so I noticed people tying a red string
      or strings around their wrist. These red strings, according to
      them, circled the tomb of Rachel in Beth-Lehem and are used as
      good omen or against evil eye (kabbalistic reasons). When one
      reads the Tosefta Shabbat (Lieberman) chapter 6 is says
      explicitly: "Elu devarim mi-darkei ha-Emori...ve-hakosher...hut
      adom al etzba'o...harei zeh mi-darkei ha-Emori" [=These items are
      the ways of the Emorites.. [he] who ties...red string around his
      finger..these are Emorite practices] My free translation-GJG.

Because I refused to put these string-wearing celebrities on the cover of
a  JEWISH magazine I edited, I was FIRED.


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 04 Dec 2004 19:51:17 +0200
Subject: Weapons on Shabbat

Just as a comment, "maaseh sh'haya" - retelling an actual event, in my
former synagogue, the Holliswood Jewish Center in Queens (now, the Young
Israel of...), in the late 1950s, one of the congregants was a detective
serving with the New York Police Department.  During a kiddush after a
Shabbat service, one of the members slipped up behind him and ran his
hand across his back in a friendly way but the response was a bit out of
the ordinary for a schule kiddush.  The detective instinctively spun
around, brushed the hand away and pulled out his gun.  An apology later,
all were back to smiles although the Rabbi and most of the ladies had
been a bit aghast.

Yisrael Medad


From: Barry Wolfson <genericmail123@...>
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 16:00:35 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Yahrzeit of the Rambam

I would like to start by trying to bring to everyones' attention a most
noteworthy, important and commemorable event about to happen.  Many
people are aware of this but too many are not.  The event I am speaking
of is the 8th centennial (800th) yahrzeit of the Rambam.  It is coming
very soon.  The Rambam passed away in 1204.  Here is where it gets
interesting.  When you "ask around" the general reply you get is that
the Rambam passed away on the 20th of Teveth which this year is actually
next year - January 1, 2005 (of all dates!).  However if one looks for
example in the classic, History of the Jewish People by Margolis and
Marx they give the date as December 13, 1204.  Now if you look back
carefully (see for example www.hebcal.com) taking into account the
Gregorian Reformation (http://www.xoc.net/maya/help/gregorian.asp) you
will see that December 13, 1204 is the 2nd of Teveth which this year is
Tuesday December 14 - very soon.  So, the question then becomes what
is/are the original source(s) for the date of his death?  Is there more
than one "original" source and if so are they in agreement with one
another?  Can anybody out there shed some light on this important issue?

Barry Wolfson


End of Volume 46 Issue 12